Lace up and help end MS

The Scotiabank 3km, 6km or 9km MS Walk is at Marigold School May 14

Pippa Blake (centre) and her Rise Above Barriers team are ready to walk and roll to raise money for MS programs and research.

Pippa Blake (centre) and her Rise Above Barriers team are ready to walk and roll to raise money for MS programs and research.

Whether you choose to walk, run or roll, and whether you choose the 3km, 6km or 9km routes, know that by lacing up for the Scotiabank MS Walk May 14, you’re making a difference.

With a goal of $145,000, the annual walk is a major fundraiser for the MS Society of South & Central Vancouver Island, supporting both local programs and research.

After many years at Willows beach, the walk moved last year to Saanich, venturing along the Galloping Goose Trail from its start and finish at Marigold School.

Regardless of location, the atmosphere is infectious, as those living with MS, their families, friends and supporters gather to end MS. Participants enjoy live music, a delicious lunch, family-friendly activities and more. As always, the event is accessible to everyone, including those using wheelchairs, scooters or strollers. Furry friends are also welcome.

“It’s charged with optimism,” says Pippa Blake, entering her 14th MS Walk as Rise Above Barriers team captain. “It’s fun and it’s a wonderful place to be.”

Crediting “wonderful friends and family who have been in it from the start,” her team has raised more than $30,000 over the years, estimates Blake, who champions the MS Society staff and volunteers and the services they provide.

The MS Society strives each year to support both aspects of its mission: providing services to enhance quality of life for those living with MS and conducting research into the cause and cure.

Donations to the MS Walk provide access to education seminars, information and emotional support, member and partner/caregiver support groups and the equipment provision program. They enjoy drop-in gym and exercise programs, physiotherapy, advocacy, social and recreational events, a resource library and much more.

“They’ll answer any qestion you have,” Blake says. “We’re so fortunate they’re here.”

In addition, donations also support MS research being conducted right here in B.C.

One of the key aspects of the annual MS Walk is the sense of community it provides those living with multiple sclerosis.

Often MS strikes with no warning and for people experiencing symptoms for the first time, the cause is sometimes misdiagnosed. For people living with MS, symptoms can worsen and new symptoms can appear out of nowhere. The course of the disease affects everyone differently and can change without warning, which makes it difficult to treat.

It’s one of the reasons events like the walk, which bring together so many supporters, make such a difference, Blake says.

“It kind of pulls you up. I respond so well to that kind of energy.”

How can you help?

To participate in the Scotiabank MS Walk, or to donate, visit mswalks.ca

For information about the MS Society at work locally, contact the South & Central Vancouver Island Chapter of the MS Society of Canada at 250-388-6496, email info.victoria@ mssociety.ca or visit online at mssociety.ca